Top Chef’s Richard Blais: I Was A Latchkey Kid, Nutrition Wasn’t A Topic In Our House

Top Chef's Richard Blais: I Was A Latchkey Kid, Nutrition Wasn't A Topic In Our House

Celebrity chef Richard Blais has a lot on his plate! In addition to his recent winnings on Top Chef: All Stars, the 39-year-old chef also just welcomed his second child with wife Jazmin. Proud dad to daughters Riley, 3, and Embry, 7 months, Richard opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his humble beginnings in the world of culinary arts: “I was a latchkey kid and I often cooked or threw together food for myself.”

Richard also talks about his experiences on Top Chef , fool-proof tricks for picky eaters, and teaming up with Healthier Generation to help end childhood obesity.

CBS: Tell us about your involvement with Alliance for a Healthier Generation‘s fight against childhood obesity.

RB: “I have two young daughters at home and having them eat and grow up healthy is important. I grew up in a weird generation, the beginning of convenience foods, easy microwave calorie bombs, etc. I was a latchkey kid and I often cooked or threw together food for myself. I’d make cookie cereal for breakfast and serve it with heavy whipping cream because it tasted good. I made bologna sandwiches and squished in a bag of sour cream potato chips for texture and salt. I was actually cooking with instinct, but I didn’t know any better. My parents were working, and nutrition just wasn’t a topic in our house. I want to raise awareness and help kids eat and cook better so they can live happier, it’s that simple.”

CBS: What can parents do to help their kids stay healthy?

RB: “Cook more together, and go out to local restaurants and ask for healthier items. At home, make it family time. It’s so easy to find healthy recipes for any type of food these days. Take a family vote or take turns selecting the dishes served. Shop and cook together – the more hands involved, the easier it is to make fresh food.”

CBS: Congratulations to you and wife Jazmin on the arrival of baby Embry! Is she giving you any rest?

RB: “Embry Lotus Blais sleeps through the night and she is doing amazing. She’s really digging her squash puree right now.”

CBS: Do you make all of Embry’s baby food? Is she a good eater?

RB: “I don’t make all of her baby food, we make some. She’s a great eater, much more so than her older sister Riley was at her age.”

CBS: How did your elder daughter Riley (is she 3 now?) adjust to big-sisterhood? Is she good with the baby? Is she excited to be a big sister?

RB: “Ri Bread is 3 correct. She loves being a big sister. She squeezes, hugs and kisses Em a bit too much, but she’s a great kid.”

CBS: Does Riley enjoy cooking and baking with you? Do you think it’s important to include kids in the cooking process?

RB: “Yes, Riley often asks to cook. We make pasta, bread, she’s starting to even do prep work with a little safe knife. She stirs and tosses stuff in, and gets involved. I think it’s great. She’s knows what whole foods are, and it’s so important. But, she also likes mac & cheese and chicken tenders, etc. It’s about a balance.”

CBS: What’s your best advice to our readers with picky eaters? What are some of your fool-proof recipes and tricks?

  • Small chop veggies into tomato sauce or as pizza toppings.
  • Vinegar: a splash of vinegar on veggies!
  • Suggesting their friends like or eat things works for Riley, she’s competitive. So if I say her friend Olivia eats eggplant, it usually works.
  • Feed them what you eat, not entirely separate meals, they get a taste for pieces, etc, and it’s also less work for your kitchen!

CBS: What’s your best advice to our readers who say they don’t have enough time in their day to cook home-made meals?

RB: “Cook in bigger batches and chill or freeze. I’m a one pot home cook myself, and you’ll be amazed how far a gallon of turkey bolognese or Indian spiced chick peas can go.”

CBS: You won Top Chef: All-Stars and you were runner up on the fourth season of Top Chef. Did you enjoy competing in those shows?

RB: “I love everything about all of my experiences on Top Chef. It’s a wonderful franchise that’s great for our industry and American home cooking, and I’m fortunate to be a part of it.”

CBS: What’s up next for you?

RB: “So much, follow my fan page on Facebook and on Twitter at @RichardBlais.”

Filed under: Celebrity Interview,Exclusives,Richard Blais

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  1. Randi

    I agree with some of the comments in this article, but I don;t believe that nutrition should be a subject at home. Instead I think that yes parents should cook all naturally from scratch more, using fresh and fresh frozen ingredients; over that of relying on a manufacture to feed their family.

    Too many home these days consume too much and too many prepackaged foods. Parents claim that they have no time to cook, so why not forfeit some personal time (work out, FB, ) for the sake of thier children’s welfare and take 15 minutes to oss a meal together and into the oven. Baked treats and snacks come a dime and dz, yet homemade varieties are usually healthier and taste better. Plus if you bring into the kitchen to help they will learn lessons and values for a lifetime to come. Also when parents stop relying on a manufacturer to feed thier kids, most likely childhood obesity will also begin to decrease!
    WOW and Homemade foods also help to bring families around the table, wheras prepackaged can be microwaved any time a day—-so why gather for a family meal when you can just nuke it when hungry!
    Think about it!

    Reply
    • WhitneyD

      I’m sorry- why shouldn’t nutrition be a subject at home? It’s one thing to lead by example, and let kids become used to home-cooked healthier foods… but if you aren’t discussing it, kids will still start whining about why they don’t eat X, Y, Z like their friends do. (I get asked all the time why we don’t eat at McDonald’s)

      I talk about just about everything with my kids. They’re 5 and 3, and while we don’t talk about obesity, we do talk about healthy foods and not so healthy foods (and why we eat those only some of the time)- mostly in the context of food being fuel. Talking about nutrition doesn’t mean making them calorie count or fear gaining wait- it’s about teaching them to be responsible about what they do eat, and understanding that just because a store sells it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

      Reply
  2. Randi

    Also I would say that for a latchkey kid,

    Cereal and heavy cream is a bit over the top, especially when you consider the price of heavy cream. Most Latchkey kids wouldn’t have such splendor today for the cost is too high!

    Reply

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